Gotta love Fridays.
I spent part of my day preparing mentally for Saturday's charade, which, for me, will involve the navigation of post-Obama, post-Twins game traffic in downtown Minneapolis, as I make my way to the new TCF Bank Stadium for Gophers v. Air Force.
(I have to take a souvenir from Saturday's football game. But it has to be legal. And ethical. Any ideas?)
I was working on a football story when a colleague forwarded this email to me Friday afternoon:
"You’ve got a 6-8 guy from Milwaukee North who is going to Cooper. He just registered there yesterday. He’s a great basketball player. He’s one of the top 10 recruits for the country. I don’t know his name."
I immediately thought back to middle school basketball. Whenever a tall, new kid showed up at my school, we all assumed he could play. "Finally, we'd beat all of our rivals," we thought. Never happened. That new guy's talent was always exaggerated. But we didn't know it until he put on a uniform.
So I was cautious about this 6-8 kid. But I still made a few calls to find out if the nameless talent had skills. Howard Pulley founder Rene Pulley had heard the same rumor when I called him Friday afternoon. He called up one of his insiders and then, gave me a buzz a little later.
"He's a strong kid."
"Who?" I asked.
Finally, Minnesota's new recruit had a name. That's when the fun started.
According to Pulley, a scout from the Midwest told him that Godfrey is a midmajor talent right now. The 6-8, 215-pound shot blocker, who attended Milwaukee Custer as a sophomore and Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.) last season, finishes strong and plays above the rim.
Reggie Rankin of Scouts Inc. wrote this description of Godfrey's skills on ESPN.com, which gives Godfrey an 89 grade, following what he called a "surprise" performance at Lebron James' summer camp:
"Godfrey is an athletic finisher with great upside. He runs the floor every time and keeps pressure on the opposing teams post players. Godfrey dunks with power and through contact around the rim. He works to seal his man in the low post and can step out to about 15 feet. Godfrey is a tough match up because he can score over smaller post with his ability to elevate over the top and with an less mobile but taller opponent his can take them off the dribble and get to the basket. He also can make an above the rim highlight from drop off passes created by guard penetration. On the defensive end he is a terrific shot blocker. Godfrey can block shots on or away from the ball with great timing and he has the awareness to keep the ball inbounds to possibly start a fast break opportunity. This mobile forward must continue to add strength but is a tough competitor around the rim."
The senior planned to attend UW-Milwaukee, after giving the Panthers a verbal commitment. But he recently decided to re-open his recruitment, according to Wishoops.net.
According to Robbinsdale Armstrong coach Greg Miller, Godfrey, who has relatives in the Robbinsdale school district, wanted initially wanted to attend the school but ultimately ended up enrolling at Robbinsdale Cooper.
Division I coaches from Texas Southern, Northern Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado State all called Miller when they thought Godfrey joined his program. One Division I coach told Miller that his team would be "top five" in the state by adding Godfrey.
Cooper coach Dave Johnson said there's been a "buzz" since Godfrey arrived. Johnson said he doesn't know much about him but said a Minnesota assistant coach has already called to ask about him. Johnson said the Minnesota State High School League has approved the transfer.
Possible red flag: I've been told that Godfrey, who played for NBA all-star Devin Harris' AAU squad in Milwaukee, might have to deal with some academic challenges.
But if he ends up competing for Cooper, he could have a big impact on the local basketball scene, based on what I've heard about him so far.
The 2010 recruiting class in Minnesota is one of the weakest groups in recent years. This state might, emphasis on might, have five or six seniors who can play high-level college basketball.
-Elliott Eliason, a 6-11 senior center from Chadron, Neb., visits the Gophers this weekend. He's expected to attend Saturday's TCF Bank Stadium debut. He told Rivals.com that he'll choose a school after he completes official visits to his final picks later this month. He's narrowed his list down to Creighton, Stanford and Minnesota.
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